January 14, 2017
We arrived in port about 9:30 this morning. I was doing my usual hour walking around the track as we made our way through a narrow channel and near the dock. At least we thought it would be our dock. There was a space between two container ships that looked too small for our ship to fit, and we would have to move sideways into it. Well, it was something to see, but there was indeed enough room,(not by much) and the maneuver was quite impressive!
Our tour today was to Colonial Leon and the bubbling mud pots. Pedro was our guide. Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American isthmus. It was also colonized by Spain and is similar in culture to the other countries in Central America. In Puntarenas, we learned that soccer, known as futbol here, is the most popular sport. In fact there, the young players practice at noon, the hottest part of the day, so that when their opponents come, they schedule the matches at noon because they are used to it, but the opposing teams aren’t. They win virtually all of their games and their stadium is known as the “cooking pot!”. In Nicaragua though, baseball is the most popular, followed by boxing and futbol.
This is a country that has 29 volcanos and you see them smoking. Mototombo is the largest, it means “mouth of fire”.They are also prone to earthquakes here. It is said that a postage stamp with a volcano on it was one of the reasons building the canal in Nicaragua was abandoned- the fear of a volcanic eruption. You also don’t see any high rise buildings because of earthquake activity. Thankfully we didn’t experience any of that!
Transportation here is mostly by brightly painted school buses, but you see plenty of motorcycles, horses and horse carts. Pedicabs are also popular.
Main crops are sugar cane and peanuts. In both Costa Rica and here, people who need it are given a house to live in as well as some animals.
70 % of the country is Catholic.
We first traveled about an hour to the colonial city of Leon where we visited the a Leon cathedral, a UNESCO world heritage site. Construction began in 1747. Leon is the second largest city in Nicaragua. The cathedral was built with low towers shaped to withstand earthquakes. We explored the interior and many of us climbed up narrow stairways to the bell tower and then to the top.
We then traveled to the town of San Jacinto to see the boiling mud pots. I did take a video but I guess it was too large to upload. Fascinating to see the bubbling and feel the heat of the boiling fiercely beneath the surface.There were many children here who followed us around and of course wanted to sell us the mud and small pots made of the mud. The source of all the heat is the Telica volcano which looms in the background.
After a wonderful dinner,we are on our way to the show. Looking forward to Guatemala tomorrow!